A Palm Treo cradle – LEGO style

I was looking around for a charging cradle that would allow me to store my Palm Treo 650 or 680 in an upright position. Most of the ones that I’ve seen advertised range in price from $29 to $49 USD.

While esthetically useful, the practicality of obtaining a cradle meant having yet another spare power cable and sync cable stored away in a shoebox of miscellaneous wires and USB cables.

The ancient Greek phillospher Plato is quoted as saying Necessity is the mother of invention, which means that a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem.

I’ve heard of and seen Apple iPods cradles made using wood, cardboard and LEGO bricks. Ah LEGO – those wonderful and versatile studded interlocking plastic bricks!

I began to sketch out a design of a cradle made of LEGO. I went out to my garage and began to rummage around through my collection of LEGO in zipped locked bags.

Here’s what my imagination came up with (play along) :

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
A Palm Treo LEGO cradle…

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
A top down view with a WiFi tower and mini flag pole.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
The structure has eight LEGO bridge structures for stability – to the right is a solar panel to power the WiFi.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
The right hand view of the cradle structure with a convenient place to “hook” / hold the Treo Bluetooth earpiece or “ear roach” as some call it.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
Pictured is STAN, the hard working engineer on cradle duty welding an old Sony Clie stylus.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
Here’s the removable cradle portion made from hinged spaceship windows.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
An underneath look of the cradle – I used two noses of a spacecraft so that an angle could be created.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
Here’s the right side view with the heavy duty WiFi tower – solar powered of course – there are red & yellow light status lights under the flag pole.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
A ground level view without the power/sync cable hookup – notice the mini dashboard for STAN, the hard working engineer to check the status of the cable hookups.

A Palm Treo cradle - LEGO style
A ground level view with the power/sync cable hookup… with 120 volts of electricity and HotSync energy. It’s crucial that STAN, the hard working engineer wears protective gear at all times!

There’s still some modifications to be made:

(1) A way to hide the sync / power cables…
(2) Maybe raising the floor with a space underneath to route the cables…
(3) Elevate the angle of the phone for greater visibility…
(4) Integrate small speakers for music playback…
(5) Build a flatbed trailer with wheels to connect with a LEGO Truck!

The beautiful thing about using LEGO bricks is the ability to build whatever your imagination desires!

Any toy store usually stocks a mixed container of LEGO. My experience has been to buy the bricks in 5 pounds of bulk via an eBay auction from reputable sellers.

Cradles can be made for any PDA, smartphone or gadget. The challenge is to keep the footprint small. Once a design works to your satisfaction, using styrene glue turns your LEGO creation into a permanent conversation piece…

“He sure has a lot of time of his hands!”

This piece only took forty five minutes to build – and it was a nice change of pace using my hands to build something I was going to spend $30 on. Let your imagination take over… Necessity is the mother of invention!

About LEGO – from the LEGO website:

The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. It?s our name and it?s our ideal. The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. The Company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.It has come a long way over the past 70 years – from a small carpenter?s workshop to a modern, global enterprise that is now, in terms of sales, the world?s sixth-largest manufacturer of toys.